|Statue of Santhaana Gopaalar|
The Tamil month of "Kaarthigai"
is dedicated to devotion and purity. "Kaarthigai
Deepam" or "Vilakkeedu"
as it's popularly known was recently celebrated by the Hindus, which fell on
the day of the "Kaarthigai"
Deepam” is celebrated by lighting of ghee or coconut oil lamps and clay
lamps forming direct lines, circles or specific designs at temples, houses and
business premises at dusk, and with the hope of dispelling darkness. The lamps
are not put out until the next days.
Besides the lamp lighting ritual, “Sorkka
Paavanai” or bonfire which later devolved into “Sokka Paanai” is also traditionally held at Hindu temples. A bunch
of dried coconut leaves tied together at the entrance of the temple will be lit
by officiating priest at night in celebrating “Kaarthigai Deepam” festival, after a parading of ceremonially
decorated statues of various deities within the temple compound.
"There is a story linked between
"Kaarthigai" and lighting lamps. Brahma- The Creator, and Vishnu- The
Preserver had a dispute between them as to who was greater, and who was the
supreme. The Lord Shiva wanted to teach them the truth. He appeared before them
in a form of huge column of fire. Both of them referred their quarrel to Lord
Shiva. He told them that he who could discover the crown of the light or its
foot first might be considered as the superior. Accordingly, Brahma took the
form of a swan and flew up in an attempt to find the crown of the Light, while
Vishnu took the form of a boar (Varaha) and began to dig down to find the foot
of the Light. Neither of them succeeded. The knowledge dawned upon them that
the Light was superior to both of them" says Prambhashri Somaskanda
Chandrakantha Kurukkal, Chief priest of Dehiwala Nedimala Sri Venkadeswara Maha
The Chief priest further states, The "Kaarthigai
Deepam" is celebrated to bring out this great truth that the supreme
God is far beyond the Creator and the Preserver. Brahma and Vishnu thereupon
prayed to the column of Light.